Division of Roman Law

Research staff:

Assoc. Prof. Jacek Wiewiorowski, DSc (Head of the Division) [e-mail]

Beata J. Kowalczyk, PhD [e-mail]

Bartosz Szolc-Nartowski, PhD [e-mail]


Division secretary:

Katarzyna Wylot, MA

e-mail: sekretariat04@prawo.ug.edu.pl

Research areas:

·      History of Roman jurisprudence

·      Roman litigation (formulary system, praetorian remedies, cognitio trial procedure)

·      Inheritance (testamentary freedom, interpretation of wills)

·      arbitrium boni viri cases

·      Imperial administration of the Late Roman Empire

·      Legal Significance of the insignia of the Notitia Dignitatum

·      Post-Classical Roman Law (property rights and possession; family law; law of obligations)

·      Family Law of Constantine the Great

·      Latin legal maxims

·      Evolutionary Psychology and Legal Studies

·      Prosopography of the Late Roman Empire

Scientific development and research of the Department
on the 50th Anniversary of the Faculty of Law and Administration (1970-2020)

The traditions of legal education in the area of the city of Gdańsk are earlier than of the University itself and include the teaching of Roman law. In the Gdańsk Academic Gymnasium established in 1580, lawyers played a large role and Roman law was taught throughout its existence, i.e. until 1811. The teaching originally included "pure" Roman law, and later its practical use and the romanisation of some institutions of native customary law. Professors dealing with Roman law, such as Peter Bruncovius, Christoph Riccius, Christian Rossteuscher, Joachim Hoppe, Johann Schulz-Szulecki, Daniel Gralath and Bartholomäus Keckermann, taught on the basis of Justinian's institutions, and the main aim of the classes was to prepare students for future public office and patriotic civic education. In addition to Roman law, civil, procedural, nations, nature, maritime and public law were taught, with elements of the regime of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Royal Prussia and Gdańsk itself, which were often combined with the legal aspects of human activities at sea.


After the Second World War, the question of the establishment of the University of Gdańsk, which would have a faculty of law and Roman law to be taught, was raised many times. However, a significant step in this direction was not taken until October 1973. It was established from the Institute of State Law existing since 1970, the Department of Judicial Law was excluded, transforming it into a separate Institute of Civil and Criminal Law with three divisions: Civil Law, Criminal Law and Labour law. A year later, the former Institute of Civil and Criminal Law was reorganised, and finally, in 1979, it was divided into two independent units: the Institute of Civil and Labour law and the Department of Criminal Law. The Department of Civil Law was established in 1981 and since its inception, studies and classes in Roman law (in the form of lectures and workshops and master's seminars) have been started at the Faculty of Law. Research covered topics such as marriage and cohabitation in Roman law and Roman traditions in Polish civil law; doctoral dissertations on Roman law were defended by dr Jacek Dmowski (Pożyczka morska w prawie rzymskim, 26 May 1978 ) and dr Beata J. Kowalczyk (Zasiedzenie w prawie rzymskim, 17 September 2012 - published: B. J. Kowalczyk, Usucapio. Rzymskie pochodzenie współczesnej instytucji zasiedzenia, Gdańsk 2016). The organiser of the teaching of Roman law at the UG was prof. dr hab. Władysław Rozwadowski, who in the years 1996-1998 simultaneously served as head of the Department of Civil Law. Classes in this subject were also taught by mgr Aleksandra Jaszkiewicz (until 2007), dr Jacek Dmowski (until 2011), prof. dr hab. Krzysztof Amielańczyk (until the end of September 2016) and dr Beata J. Kowalczyk and dr Bartosz Szolc-Nartowski.


In December 2015, a major reorganisation was made for the teaching of Roman law at the University of Gdańsk, establishing the Division of Roman law. Prof. dr hab. Krzysztof Amielańczyk was acting head until the end of September 2016. Dr hab. Jacek Wiewiorowski was appointed head on 1 October 2016, at the same time, holding the position of associate professor at UG (currently University Professor); assistant professors are dr Beata J. Kowalczyk and dr Bartosz Szolc-Nartowski (worth noting, author of the first Polish translation of the book of the first Digesta Iustiniani from 533: Digesta Justyniańskie. Księga pierwsza. Translated by Bartosz Szolc-Nartowski, Warszawa 2007.


At the end of last year, the Division of Roman law became an organisational unit of the Department of Civil Law at the UG (due to the requirements of the Higher Education Act of 2018).


The employees of the Department conduct all forms of teaching in the fields of Law, Administration, Criminology, and European Business Administration (mainly subjects relating to Roman law and private law).


The spectrum of research conducted at the Division includes: issues concerning prescription in Roman law, threatening damage (damnum infectum) in the context of the reception of Roman solutions to modern legal orders, Roman contract law, Roman criminal law, Roman procedural law, Roman state law, and the application of evolutionary psychology and other evolutionist trends in jurisprudence and historical-legal research. The results of their research are presented at the most important national and international scientific conferences, headed by the world's largest Romanistic conference, organised periodically by the Société Internationale Fernand de Visscher pour l'Histoire des Droits de l'Antiquité (SIHDA).


The department is responsible for the annual local competition of Roman law (organized by ELSA Gdańsk): its winners take part in the National Competition Prawo rzymskie a świat współczesny (the 2018 edition of the competition was held at the UG Faculty of Law and Administration - the second place was taken by the representative of our Faculty: Stefania Yerka).


Regular scientific meetings organised by the Department of Roman law are the Ogólnopolskie Forum Młodych Romanistów and International Seminar Roman maritime law (currently as a historical panel within the framework of the national conferences of maritime law, organised by the UG Department of Maritime Law).

The first conference aims to allow participants to present the scope and directions of their research, to exchange views within the scientific community, and to discuss the expected results and the research methods used (the result of one edition of the conference is the publication entitled. Ius pluribus modis dicitur - prawo rzymskie wciąż żywe, (eds.) B. J. Kowalczyk, B. Szolc-Nartowski, Gdańsk 2016).

The result of the meetings within the framework of the International Seminar Roman maritime law in the years 2017 and 2019 was the publication of issue 3/2019 of Gdańskie Studia Prawnicze, Roman Maritime Law. Maritime Legal Traditions and Modern Legal Issues (ed. J. Wiewiorowski), containing 19 texts by authors from scientific centres in Poland, Great Britain, Spain, and the Czech Republic. It is the first publication of this rank to be published by the Division of Roman law.


A joint initiative between the Department of Civil Law and the Division of Roman law resulted in the organisation of nationwide periodic seminars of family law researchers from leading Polish academic centres in 2018. An important event was the International Conference Bringing Justice Closer to European Citizens on 25 October 2019, organised in the framework of the European Day of Justice (co-organised with the UG Department of Civil Procedure).



The project is financed by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange


View changelog

Submitted on Monday, 22. March 2021 - 15:01 by Sławomir Dajkowski Changed on Monday, 29. November 2021 - 14:18 by Sławomir Dajkowski